Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blue Christmas

Quick digital Jack sketch that I decided to put a little more polish on. I was taking a break from drawing Christmas presents. I have this thing for drawing characters staring intently into the distance with profound MEANING AND PURPOSE for absolutely no reason. She looks kinda goth here... I dunno. That didn't happen on purpose. Merry Christmas everyone.

And here are some recent sketchbook pages:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tea Shop : Part II

My progress on the Tibetan tea shop interior. As you can see, I'm still blocking stuff in. There's no detail yet and the shadows and reflections aren't refined but it's coming together.

Also, I drew a thing--

--DIGITALLY. Ours is truly an age of wonders. A Tibetan girl I drew in less than ten minutes while taking a break from the tea shop. And the lame drawing below was just a test for a new brush I made in Photoshop. Helllloooo!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tea Shop : Genesis

Rough value study for an environment. Done in Photoshop. Disregard the shoddy perspective, which will be addressed in the actual version.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This is an illustration [3 color versions] I did for a chapter of “The Physics of Animation” dealing with the topic of balance. Uh, she accidentally came out looking A LOT like me… except with long hair. And also, a cartoon. Thought I should throw that out here before someone I know points that out. Anyway, I learned a lot about adjustment layers in Photoshop this summer and had some fun messing around with that. Normally I think images put through Hard Mix look pretty ass-ish, but this time around it came out cool. I cleaned up the linework in Flash and did the rest in Photoshop.

Below: This is where I’m stopping with this piece. I may go back and add a mule caravan in the foreground later but I’m going to cool it now and move on to the next piece.

A sketchbook page I’m lukewarm on but other people really liked. So here:

I get a lot of questions on what media I use in my sketchbook so here’s the skinny. This is the core of my arsenal… these are by no means the only materials I use in my sketchbook, but they are the ones most frequently used:

1. Sumi Ink: I use it mainly for flat washes.
2. White Gouache: Used on most highlights and blocks of light value.
3 & 4. Grey Tombow Markers: Kind of all-purpose. I use the light gray for basic lay-ins… you usually can’t even see it on the toned paper once the drawing has been completed. I use the medium gray for dark patches and core shadows and sometimes blend it out with the light grey marker because Tombows are water soluble. I try to keep the strokes to a minimum because markers get muddy-looking really fast.
5. Uniball Signo [White]: Used for small white accents or for light areas with more texture. It’s water soluble and very workable.
6 & 7: Pilot Hi-tec pens: Used for all the linework. These are water soluble so I often throw a wash of water over them right after drawing (once the ink dries, it’s not as workable) to get light shadows or a flat, grey wash.
8 & 9: Japanese Brush Pens: I use these on my core shadows and black areas. Then I go in with the water pen and bleed out the middle values. You can get all kinds of effects with it depending on how much water you use or where you start your stroke. I usually put the water down on the page where I want the ink to bleed out to and then connect the stroke to the ink and bleed it out. Beginning your stroke on the ink creates a completely different effect that isn’t as soft.
10. Pentel Sign Pen: Just a water soluble black marker that bleeds like a muthah. I like to use this one on small dark shadows. This marker wields a lot of variation.
11. Water Pen: The tool that makes all my value drawings happen. I think everyone knows this one but… it’s a brush that holds its own water supply. You just squeeze out the amount you need. I use it to bleed pens and apply gouache and ink.

Not pictured: the sketchbook I usually use. I like this particular sketchbook because I love toned paper, it holds wet media well… there’s minimal warping and media almost never bleeds through to the other side of the page, and it’s 100% recycled! Oh yeah, and cheap. We like cheap. I get almost all my pens at Maido, although Tombows are available at every art store. Almost all the media I use are water soluble… I like media that bleed. Materials I occasionally use: fountain pens, tissues, watercolor pencils, alphacolor charkole, china markers, bamboo brushes, crayons, black electrical tape (cut up for dark patches), etc.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Himalayan Village [WIP]

I recently started a project based on one of my favorite books as a kid, "Daughter of the Mountains" by Louise Rankin. It's set in the 1930s, mostly in Tibet but also Nepal, Bhutan, and India. It's about a Tibetan girl whose dog is stolen by a caravan of wool traders to sell to a wealthy British couple in India and the journey she undertakes to get her dog back. As a kid, I was completely absorbed in the rich descriptions of the locations and it seemed like perfect fodder for a visual development project.

This is an environment piece I started last week... a tiny village along a trade route in the Himalayas. I still have to add figures for scale along with other details like the prayer flags, fence, firewood, a few small shrubs, etc. I was having a hell of a time getting the houses to not look like small condos in the mountains but those old Tibetan homes are so simple looking! I tweaked the original image a bit to test out a different mood... I actually think I like the tweaked image better. I'm thinking of painting in the wool caravan on the foreground trail to introduce some story.

I picked up about 50lbs of reference material from the library but here's a site I found with all kinds of awesome Tibet reference from the time period I'm working with: http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/tibet_collections.html. I think the next piece I'll be doing after this one is the interior of a tea shop.

Recent sketchbook page finished yesterday in San Francisco. A cafe, a shopping center, and The Warfield where I went to go see The Decemberists in concert. They were outstanding. And their new album will be out in March!

Edit: Blogger doesn't feel like loading my image correctly for the sketchbook page. To view a larger version, click here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In the beginning, there was...

This was actually the inaugural sketch of my new sketchbook. I forgot to scan it with the last batch somehow. Just trying to shake the rust off my sketching hand. This drawing was done looking out the window at one of my favorite cafes: Bay Street Coffee in Fremont, CA. Since it was right before the election, the fence across the street was plastered in election posters.

Mental dialogue following the completion of this sketch:
"Hey, organize the values better so your image is legible, yeah?"
"Values? Organization? Whuh?!"

In my defense, it was overcast.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

For Sure, There Is No Place Like Home

After finishing my last major sketchbook in July, I've been jumping around between sketchbooks trying to do something new. I normally always get the same recycled brown sketchbook every time and I thought it was about time I took on a new challenge. Problem is, it wasn't fun and I actually felt less and less like drawing. The books didn't accept the sorts of media I enjoyed using so I abandoned the idea a few weeks ago and picked up a new familiar brown sketchbook. If I can't enjoy the work I'm doing, what's the point? So it's good to be back and now drawing can be fun again. Here are a few pages I did over the weekend, at APE and at a coffee shop right before Halloween. Man, am I rusty.

Above: The woman in the upper right got overworked... went a little overboard on the guoache trying to capture the wierd reflected light. Also, my tube of gouache is almost totally dried out and I'm too cheap to get another so it's hard to handle the white. But I really like how the old man seated with his coffee turned out.

Below (2 pages): Really quick sketches done at APE.

Speaking of APE, I had a great time! I got to meet so many awesome artists, hang out with friends, look at all kinds of incredible merchandise I couldn't afford, and just be generally and awesomely inspired. I still have some leftover books if people would like to buy them. I've never sold anything online before... I guess do Paypal? I don't know. I'll figure it out in the next post. If anyone would like a copy of the mini-comic, shoot me an email. I'll even do a sketch in it. Thanks!

Here is the final cover design for the comic. I was actually disappointed in it but considering how short on time I was, I think it came out alright. I was kinda under the gun to get the book off to the printer in time.

And here are a few pages of doodles done in preparation for the cover, trying to figure out a good pose. I was pretty set on doing something actiony but willing to explore a bit. Of course, drawing cover poses quickly degraded into just drawing random shit that would, under no circumstances, actually make it to the cover but it's always fun to indulge that impulse. So yeah, funny noodley figures.

Below: And here is the pose that I went with. I actually just scanned this, blew it up to 200%, cranked up the opacity to 15% to make it super light, printed it, and drew right over it. It was pretty much good to go, as is.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Book Bin #1

I spend a lot of time at the thrift store. I always have. There are just too many wierdly awesome things there from old childhood toys and creepy ceramic figurines to tacky clothes and old VHS tapes. My parents bought most of my clothes and toys from the thrift store when I was growing up and I guess I just never outgrew it. Aside from clothes, books are one of my absolute favorite things to buy thrifted. You never know what kind of gorgeous or completely off-the-wall vintage book you're going to find there and I've built up a sizable collection over the years with nothing but spare change! It's a resource few artists tap but I highly recommend giving it a shot.

Here are some illustrations from a book I found last month, that I've been meaning to scan and share. The book is "Debbie's Visit to the Countryside" by Gilbert Delahaye, illustrated by Marcel Marlier, 1980. It was so beautifully rendered, I couldn't resist. I have other books I'd like to share in the coming weeks, as well.

Also, when you see a book with a cover as awesome as this one, you DO NOT leave it on the shelf:

I leave you with the final page of "The Superstars of Rock". The caption reads, "Shakin' Stevens - Britain's most exciting rock performer."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Update on the comic: The comic is finished. I did the cover this weekend so now I just have to lay the book out in InDesign tomorrow and see about getting it printed/assembled. I realize I'm cutting it close (APE is less than a week away!) but not to worry, guys. The drawing above is the one I used on the cover. The actual cover looks nothing like that, though... the drawing just looked totally boring on plain white so I fixed it up all parchment-like. I'll post pictures of the book later this week when I get it from the printer.

Here are some old sketchbook pages from September. P.S., I got a new sketchbook (which is actually my old usual sketchbook) so expect to start seeing a lot more sketchbook love in the next couple weeks.

And here are some drawings I did at a restaurant on Friday:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Need for Speed

So that's my first digital speed paint ever. I could've done worse, I suppose. I got tired of toning the comic and was just about ready to go to bed when I decided to mess around with all the new Photoshop brushes I made or downloaded recently. Since I was coming fresh off the comic, here is yet another Jack piece.

I swear that once I'm finished with the mini-comic I'll start posting stuff that doesn't feature Jack! On the topic of the comic: I just FINALLY finished toning all the pages. I just have to place all the text now and then do a cover. Not to mention, find out exactly how I'm going to get this sucker printed and assembled for APE...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hella Excerpts

More previews from my upcoming mini-comic, "Hella Days". No text yet, as you can see, and I was careful to choose non-spoiler panels. This comic has been an interesting experiment for me. Normally I would ink this traditionally but I decided to try more of a vector look this time around. It's kinda "vector deluxe"... it's been really difficult for me to try to do something with full grayscale but no rendering. I have a tendency to render the hell out of almost everything. As usual, some of these panels will undergo minor repairs before print but they're pretty much good to go, as is. "Hella Days" will be available at APE (Alternative Press Expo) in San Francisco next month. More information to come on that later.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Non Sequitur II

Thought I'd throw down a progress report on the comic. I posted the ruffs to a handful of panels from pages 3-5 a few weeks ago so here they are toned. It's likely that they will change a bit when I do final adjustments to all the pages but I'm tagging these "final versions". Well, final with the exception of text, anyway. The first panel breaks my heart a bit, truly. The fourth panel was a lot of fun to do... that ice cream man is really pushing his luck, if you ask me. Jack looks like she's about to dismantle the guy. BTW, his name is Sonny.

I'll definitely be posting more work from the comic sometime in the next 2 weeks. I'm on tones right now. It's nice to be hitting that phase of production where I finally feel like I'm making progress because I can actually see things being completed now.